Network Rail is a Founding Partner of Shift2Rail and active in four of its five Innovation Programmes.

Shift2Rail is a European technology, research and development collaboration programme funded jointly by its members and Horizon 2020, a European Commission research fund.

It seeks to accelerate delivery of the Rail Technical Strategy by working closely with European infrastructure managers and supply chain to jointly create solutions to benefit the rail industry across Europe and to support the European Union’s vision of a Single European Rail Area.

Innovation Programmes (IPs)

The work conducted within the Shift2Rail framework is structured, first of all, around five asset-specific Innovation Programmes covering all the different structural (technical) and functional (process) subsystems of the rail system. These are supplemented by work on five Cross-Cutting Activities (CCAs), which impact across all of the IPs.

Each IP will be delivered through the completion of a number of interconnected research projects by consortia of interested organisations.


Our role

Network Rail is one of the founding partners of Shift2Rail and involved in the delivery of a number of projects across IPs 1 through 4.

We are also the Coordinator of IP3 – cost-efficient and reliable infrastructure – meaning we are responsible for the technical and organisational coordination of the activities undertaken as part of this IP.

As a founding partner, we are able to access innovations developed by every project funded as part of the Shift2Rail initiative and use them to further progress our own technologies, processes and practices that are crucial to our business performance and future capabilities.

We are currently involved in 10 live projects across 4 IPs.

Further develops the Roll2Rail Lighthouse Project to address limitations with mechanical systems within rail vehicles: carbodies, running gear, brakes, entry systems and interiors including the cab.

Network Rail focuses on smart running gear and means to improve running gear performance.

Further details: Cost-efficient and reliable trains, including high-capacity trains and high-speed trains


Initiated in September 2016 to focus on advanced traffic management and the systems that will supports its rollout, such as telecoms and cyber security.
Further details: Advanced Traffic Management And Control Systems

Launched in September 2017 to further develop the outputs of X2Rail-1.
Further details: Enhancing railway signalling systems based on train satellite positioning, on-board safe train integrity, formal methods approach and standard interfaces, enhancing Traffic Management System functions

Aims to enhance track, switches and crossings and structures such as bridges and tunnels to improve operational performance and extend service life.
Further details: Research into enhanced tracks, switches and structures

Launched in September 2017, with two subprojects: Energy and Future Stations. Energy looks at smart control of rail power supply and smart metering, while future stations looks at crowd management, improved station design and concepts, improved accessibility and blast resistant glass. Network Rail coordinate this project, as well as IP3 as a whole.
Further details: Innovative Solutions in Future Stations, Energy Metering and Power Supply

Identifies ways to create a one-stop shop for customers to purchase transport itineraries.
Further details: Advanced Travel Companion and Tracking Services

Builds on ATTRACkTIVE by adding functionality such as payment settlement.
Further details: CO-modal journey re-accommodation on associated travel services

Creates an integration framework to enable all parts of IP4 system to interact and respond to future needs and systems.
Further details: Coherent Setup and Demonstration of Integrated travel services

Demonstrates the completed system.
Further details: Connecting and Analysing the Digital Transport Ecosystem

Past projects

This project contributed to the aims of IP1 by developing key technologies and innovative solutions to remove pre-identified blocking points for radical innovation in the field of railway vehicles. Roll2Rail involved 31 industry partners from across Europe and had a budget of €16m.

In2Rail explored technologies that allow the integration, optimisation, sharing and exploitation of technology in infrastructure, information management, maintenance techniques, energy and engineering. 54 industry partners were involved in this project, which had a budget of €18m.